Communion of the non-saints
Well, if I was worried that Alan Ball wouldn’t have the guts to show us the dark side of Bill, those fears have been completely put to bed. Into a blood-soaked bed of betrayal and heartbreak nonetheless. This week we see the dramatic fruits of separating Bill and Sookie – namely, they both get a lot more action, though not necessarily for the good of either of them. To this point, we haven’t been given any indication that Bill is faking his dark turn in an elaborately long con to undermine Lorena and Russell. In fact, he “hears” Sookie’s distress as she flees a bar full of vamped-up Weres shifting on demand and purposefully ignores it. Not only ignores it, but slips into the limo and participates in the gruesome blood fest with the sad stripper he glamored into submission.
I suppose he could be acting on some form of compulsion. Clearly this is what Sookie thinks as she perseveres in her quest to find him and make him at least confront her face to face. At the risk of posting spoilers, I will say that we are already in deeper waters than in the book. In book 3 the big revelation at the end is that Bill has been participating in a renewed, if depressingly codependent, relationship with Lorena. But that, clearly, is not going to be the big revelation at all since Bill already spilled the beans to Sookie on the phone. Which means your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what Bill is up to. Is he genuinely slipping into a massive vampire funk, trying to excise his love for Sookie, and all humans, in brutal hate-sex with his maker? Is he playing some deeper game the stakes of which we do not know? Or perhaps he is under some form of compulsion and it will take Sookie showing up at the rescue to set him free (and wouldn’t that be a fun twist of events)?
Then again, the more Sookie snuggles up to her steamy werewolf companion, the less she might be interested in tracking down her ice cold first love (digression: did anyone else love the allusion to another woman’s choice between an overly hot werewolf and a chilly vamp? Except something tells me Sookie’s surrender to multiple loves might involve more than a kiss on the top of snow-covered mountain…). Whether or not her plan is any good, it is nice to see Sookie stepping up to some action of her own. I wouldn’t mind a few more disguises and a chance to see just what kind of damage she could do with all the vampire blood in her system. It is endlessly better than watching her hang around waiting for the action to come to her.
I’ll save reflections on Alcide and Debbie for another post as we wait and see where that is going. The whole scene in the were bar seemed a set up for that insane Werewolf communion. The use of shot glasses was clearly a product of the location in a bar, but Alan Ball is way too smart not to play up the communion parallels – a leader pierces his wrist and pours his blood into small vessels, passed around for all his followers to take at once, while intoning words of a sacred bond and an eternal allegiance. As Natalie pointed out in an email, the wolves don’t share a common communion cup as they might in a higher church ritual (Catholic, Episcopalian, etc.). They do it “low church” style, each wolf to her/his own cup. I’m not sure if that means anything, but I do like the idea of the Weres mimicking a nice Baptist communion service.
In addition to hitting a sweet spot for the viewer attuned to religious imagery, we are clearly witnessing one incarnation of a much more ancient ritual. The use of German should keep us on our toes for more throwbacks to Nazi werewolves and some much darker, deeper plots than just one fruity king impinging on another queen’s territory. Something tells me we are going to learn a whole lot more about the dark workings of vampire power between Russell and the Magister (did anyone else catch his throw back to the Salem witch trials? Maybe he really has been leading inquisitions for centuries…).
One loose end I can’t wait to learn more about is Franklin’s end game. We know he works for Russell, but why? how? doing what? What exactly does Russell want from Bill? It must be more than what he is getting on his own if he has hired pyscho-Franklin to dig around. Let me just say: I am LOVING James Frain. He just might be the creepiest thing we’ve seen on this show. But I am a little pissed off that once again Tara is caught up in an abusive relationship. I mean, can’t the one central black woman on the show have even a moment of normal? I am holding out hope that she will somehow take back the night, but all I am seeing right now is a traumatized victim repeatedly brutalized. Sure, that might happen in real life, but this is a supernatural soap opera. Can’t we spread the trauma around?
–is Bud Dearborn really on his way out? Oh please tell me we will at least see a dancing showdown before it is all done.
–I loved Deputy Kenya’s line that all it takes to be promoted to sheriff in Bon Temps is to “drink like a fish, hallucinate farm animals and kill a black man.” I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of this Kenya…
–Layfayette and Eric have one of the best relationships on the show. Let’s see more of that.
–Hotshot is getting creepier and creepier. I haven’t loved the plot with Jason so far, but if he is going to get roped into that incestuous pithole, I might change my mind.
–I’m not particularly in to Sam and his family right now. Am I missing something? It just feels like filler and a distraction from the real action. I just want to stay in Mississippi…
What about the rest of you? Favorite lines/moments? Any predictions on what is up with Bill?